Sometimes, it’s nice to travel to a city where you know the language so you can feel more comfortable. However, visiting a totally anglophone city is not enough of a challenge. If you are learning French or already know some French, we suggest you lose your security blanket and explore a francophone city. Whether you are more of the adventurous type, a music lover or a beach lover, every type of traveller will be satisfied by at least one of these options. The best part? All these cities are incredible and should be on your travel bucket list anyway. Which francophone city will you visit next?
Travelling all around the world is a great way to discover new cultures but also to discover more about yourself. When you step out of your comfort zone, you can experience new things you’d never thought possible. And if you’re travelling through Europe, you will be able to practice several languages at once!
1Which Francophone City Should I Visit?
Francophone Cities for Nature Lovers
Charlevoix (region), Canada
This region in Quebec is the perfect place for nature lovers. There are tons of parks and wildlife reserves, cycling routes, cruise and boat tours, adventure courses and rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hiking, you can observe wildlife, there are water and nautical sports, golfing, hunting, fishing and more. All these activities are backdropped with gorgeous mountains and the vast St Lawrence river. Whether you go in the summer or winter, you will fill your lungs with the fresh Canadian air.
Mahé (region), Seychelles
Even though this is the most developed part of Seychelles, there is an abundance of incredible outdoor activities for nature lovers. You can hike, snorkel with sharks, whales, dolphins and fish, and do all sorts of activities surrounded by the incredible natural beauty of the island. Since it rarely rains here, you can enjoy being outside 24/7 and be one with nature and feel connected to its wonderful benefits on your body and soul.
Francophone Cities for City Lovers
Even though Lyon is not France’s capital city, it is still the third biggest city in the country. If you love being in a city but don’t want to be with (as many) tourists like in Paris, visit Lyon. There is beautiful architecture, an impressive amount of Roman remnants that proudly stand all over the city and outstanding museums to visit. There are a million and one activities for city lovers who like to be entertained all day and night long. The music, art and food scenes are likely to keep you busy during your whole stay here.
Montreal might not be the biggest city in Canada but it has the most personality. Known in the 1920s as the party city for Americans (because of the prohibition), it hasn’t stopped being a great destination for city lovers. There are tons of wonderful museums, there is always a festival of some sort happening, whether it is winter or summer. People are friendly and like to go out to have some fun, which is why there are some amazing restaurants and bars in this city. The different neighbourhoods all have very different vibes but whatever your type of city life you like to live, you’ll find a perfect atmosphere in Montreal.
Francophone Cities for Fine Dining Lovers
This small island in the middle of the Caribbean has some of the best creole cooking in the world. From street vendors to fine dining restaurants, you can find delicious fish or seafood accras, chatrou, ti punch, lambis, blanc manger au coco and more. If you’re a fan of trying new foods, this is the place for you. The dishes are so superior because of the freshness of the ingredients and the dedication and care the cooks put in their work. If you want to get some of these fresh products yourself, visit the Grand Marché and try some new foods you’ve never tried before!
Bordeaux is THE region in France where you can eat and drink some of the best food and wine in the whole world. It is the capital of wine in the world and produces such great wine that it is impossible to go there without having the best time. You can taste as many wines as you want and accompany them with a mouthwatering meal because it’s not just the wines that are amazing. The number of food trucks, cafes, fusion restaurants and traditional kitchens probably outnumber this city’s population. A small warning: You might not fit in your snuggest jeans once you come back from this wonderful place.
Francophone Cities for Music Lovers
If you love discovering new music or if you want to try your hand at a cool new instrument you’ve never tried before, Guadeloupe should be on your bucket list. Guadeloupe first started being known for its music internationally at the end of the 20th century with zouk music. Zouk originated from the folk music from Guadeloupe and during their Carnival, the whole city comes together for some dancing and singing. With an incredible backdrop of palm trees, pristine beaches, and colourful building, you’ll feel like you’re in a dream while listening to music on the streets of Basse-Terre.
This might surprise you but Brussels has an incredible music scene. They have tons of live music bars if you want to discover more underground and lesser known bands. If you prefer to go to a big music festival, the Brussels Summer Festival is the place to be. They have tons of local bands playing but also have big international headliners. If you enjoy EDM music, the Extrema Outdoor Belgium festival is the place for you but if you are a hip hop, reggae and world music lover, you’ll enjoy the Couleur Café Festival. Whatever the kind of music you like, there’s a music festival for you in Brussels.
Francophone Cities for Art Lovers
The Louvre! The Musée d’Orsay, The Rodin Museum! The Picasso Museum! There are so many amazing museums to visit in Paris. The rich history of the city makes Paris a walking and breathing museum. You can spend hours in the Louvre alone so make sure you divide your time accordingly. You also don’t want to get an overdose of art so take some breaks by strolling through the cobblestone streets and look up to take in all the beauty. Paris is so rich in all sorts of spheres whether it is food, architecture, fashion, music, etc. but if you want to concentrate your trip on learning about different kinds of art, this is the perfect place to do this.
Marrakech? Really? Yes, really! This city is filled with incredible art from the tile works to the painted ceilings. The Mouassine and Marrakech museums have thousands of artifacts and art for your eyes to soak in. Fashion lover? Visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum, an incredible place for fashion, architecture and art. The mix of traditional Moroccan style and the Parisian modern look is an incredible sight to see. If you’re looking for even more art, the numerous souqs that are nestled in the city will be the perfect remedy for you. Modern artisans create spectacular pieces that you can bring back home and cherish forever.
Francophone Cities for Safety Lovers
Zurich is part of the 10 ten safest cities in the world. If you want to travel to Europe but you are scared to do it on your own, you can at least know that Zurich is known worldwide as a safe place. This francophone city has an excellent transport system that is reliable. Of course, it is best to stay guarded wherever you are since things can happen no matter where you are. Zurich is also a very clean city and since it is the financial capital of the country, so it stays pretty quiet even on the weekend.
Québec City, Canada
Québec City is a good choice if you’re looking for a safe place to travel to because it is a small city. It is actually one of the safest cities in all of Canada. It is easy to get around and it doesn’t really matter if their transport system isn’t (close to) perfect because you can pretty much walk anywhere. Quebecers are very friendly and are happy to help if you ever need some help. Again, unfortunately, bad things can happen anywhere so when travelling, always stay cautious and don’t put yourself in an unsafe situation.
Francophone Cities for Beach Lovers
French Riviera (region), France
The French Riviera is the perfect place to dip your toes. This region in France is filled with beaches in notable and iconic towns like Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Menton and Nice. You can go from town to town and soak up the sun on every beach you find. In Cannes, when you’re lying on the beach, you can enjoy the view of the sparkling Mediterranean sea. In Saint Tropez, enjoy people watching since it is one of the most celebrity-friendly areas in Europe. With the adorable coastal villages, slow pace of a beach town and beautiful sand, any beach lover will be in total bliss visiting the French Riviera.
Bora Bora (country)
Since Bora Bora is such a small little country and is comprised of many little islands and islets, we decided to talk about going to the whole country and not a specific city. If you’re a fan of sapphire, indigo and turquoise waters and unspoiled beaches (but who doesn’t?), Bora Bora is the perfect place for your beach vacation. For a stress-free vacation filled with reading, swimming and boating, nothing can go wrong on this South Pacific island. Who knows? Your significant might pop the question since the setting is so ideal.
Francophone Cities for Adventure Lovers
Adventure lovers will have the time of their lives in this French-African country. Located on the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is one of the most incredible countries you’ll ever visit. From beaches, reefs, deserts and rainforests, the Indiana Jones or G.I. Jane (but without all the bad guys and fights) in you in adore this paradise playground. If you’re interested in discovering some of the world’s most incredible animals only found in this country or you are interested in uncovering all the different plants and trees that fill the forests, Madagascar will fill your wildest dreams. From off-road driving, kitesurfing, rock-climbing, etc., this is the perfect place for an adventurous traveller.
Even though Haiti has been through a lot like with the 2010 earthquake and the 2004 Hurricane Ivan, the country remains a beautiful part of this world. Travelling here is not easy and sometimes it is not the safest but if you’re an experienced traveller who lives for intense and adventurous vacations, Jacmel might be your next destination of choice. Here, you can explore the Bassin Bleu, a series of turquoise water natural pools tucked in the mountains.
Francophone Cities for Sports Lovers
Mullerthal is known around the world as the ‘Little Switzerland of Luxembourg’. Why, you ask? Because of its Swiss landscape. If you love hiking, you need to experience the Mullerthal Trail, a 112-kilometre area filled with hiking trails. You’ll walk through forests and fields and you will always be near streams and rivers. Fans of biking, climbing, horseback riding, golf, and water sports will be extremely content. This quiet and quaint part of the country will be the perfect place for your next sporty vacation.
St Martin (country)
Like with Bora Bora, we won’t concentrate on only one part of this small Caribbean island since you can easily go from one end to the island to the other in a few hours. Saint Martin is filled with incredible activities sporty people love. If you’re a golf lover, Saint Martin has a magnificent 18 hole golf course, you can also do a bicycle tour of the whole island, if you love animals and you can also do some pony trekking. If you love water sports, enjoy scuba diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing, and sailing. The best part? You’ll get a great tan while getting whipped into shape.
Francophone Cities for Shopping Lovers
You might be extremely surprised by this suggestion but Antwerp is the fashion capital of Belgium. First, one of the world’s best fashion colleges is located in this city and the city also has a notable Fashion museum (the MoMu). Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck are all world renown known fashion designers so there must be something in the water! Now, for the fun part. This Belgian city is filled with exclusive concept stores and amazing flagship stores on the Nationalestraat strip which is known as the fashion street. You can even do an ‘Antwerp Fashion Walk’ guide to indulge in your favourite pastime.
Gustavia, Saint Barths
Gustavia, the capital of this small French Caribbean island, is the perfect destination for your luxurious shopping trip in the warm sun. You can buy all the luxurious things you have always wanted on this little island. From clothes to jewellery to cigars and shoes, you will be happy to know there are both American and European designers sold here. Since St Barts is the playground for the rich and the famous, shopping is taken seriously on the island because if ever one would forget a bathing suit or a date night dress at home, thank goodness there’s fashionable stores nearby!
What would be your go-to francophone city?